On June 29th, 2017, Shannon Wallace (@yoshann) found out that someone wrote “nigger” on one of her photos displayed at Red Emma’s Bookstore & Cafe. The picture was of an Afro-Cuban man whose neck tattoo said, “I Love Being Black”. It was taken during Wallace’s trip to Cuba where she highlights Black life in Cuba, similar to the work she does in Baltimore.
Instead of taking the work down, she invited the community to respond messages of their own. People started trickling in, writing their own messages and even documenting it on social media.
Last night, Wallace hosted the “I Love Being Black” community art demonstration and discussion based on this incident. I came around 15 minutes in as folks were getting up and expressing their thoughts. Some came with poetry, some with free formed thoughts and others read the message they wrote on the photo itself. It was great going to the discussion and hearing everyone’s thoughts and expressions.
As for me, I didn’t express it because your girl was shy. But I’ll express it now.
For yo crusty ass hands to write “nigger” on a God whose photo taken by another God shows that you really hate yourself enough to try and transfer it to us. Black folks are beautiful. Black folks are resilient. And most of all, Black folks will continue to thrive cause we are lit. So, you can stay mad.
You tried it.
You tried to knock us down.
And you failed.
Focus on healing yourself. Drink water. Take showers daily and STAAHP spreading bullshit.
I applaud Shann for not letting this bum ass bigot phase her and inviting the community to express themselves. It goes to show that even in progressive spaces, racism still exists, so fuck all that post-racial society talk (looking at you “color blind” folks).
Check out Wallace’s work at blacksandblues.com